Two people were killed and a vehicle torched on Wednesday when suspected Al-Shabaab militants ambushed Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officers at Ireskinto village in Mandera.
The vehicle, which had six people on board, was heading to Takaba in Mandera West from Mandera East when it was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device on Mandera-Wardud-Takaba road.
Mandera County Criminal Investigations Officer Benedict Kigen said the officers bumped into the militants who were fleeing an ongoing security operation.
“We suspect the KWS officers bumped on the militants who were being pursued by the security forces after the Monday bus attack,” he said.
“We launched an operation to flush out the militants within Banisa and Mandera North Sub Counties and they are now trying to escape into Somalia,” Mr Kigen said.
In the Wednesday attack, a Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and a civilian were killed while four others sustained injuries.
The vehicle was also burnt after being hit by the explosive.
Mr Kigen blamed lack of cooperation from the local community in the fight against Al-Shabaab.
“The residents are withholding information about the presence of terrorists in the county but we are doing everything to weed out the enemy,” he said.
“We have locals who crossed into Somalia and joined the Al-Shabaab group and are now leading the attacks. We are asking locals to report to us their missing family members so that we can track them,” he said.
He added: “A foreigner cannot know all these routes. We have local people giving the group information,” said the officer adding that Al-Shabaab sympathisers are making the fight against terrorism difficult.
“There are sympathisers who keep the militants informed on the movement of our security officers,” said Mr Kigen who denied claims that all roads in Mandera are under control of the terrorists.
“No road is under the control of Al-Shabaab militants, we are soon opening the Mandera-Arabia-Lafey-Elwak road that was closed for public use in 2015,” he said.
On Monday, the militants ambushed two buses and a police vehicle on the Takaba-Banisa Rhamu-Mandera road.
Five people were killed in the incident including two police officers from Rhamu Police Station.
Meanwhile, police are holding a man suspected of planning and executing the Monday terror attack.
Mr Mohamed Muktar Wadere was arrested on Tuesday while being treated at Rhamu Sub County Hospital in Mandera North. Mr Kigen said the detectives needed more time to interrogate the suspect.
“The suspect is claiming to have found himself in the ambush as he was riding a motorcycle on the road but we shall interrogate him further,” said Mr Kigen.